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Delhi High Court pulls up DGCA for imposing flying ban on Kunal Kamra

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 26, 2020 Published on February 26, 2020

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday questioned the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for imposing a flying ban on Kunal Kamra. The stand-up comedian was banned from flying after his controversial encounter with TV presenter Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight.

While hearing Kamra’s petition, the High Court pulled up the aviation regulator and said that they should have looked into Kamra’s complaint before initiating any action against him, Indian Express reported.

The next hearing is scheduled for February 27. Justice Navin Chawla has asked the DGCA to formulate necessary actions to be taken in this regard. He also raised his concern over other airlines banning Kamra, according to media reports.

In his petition, Kamra said that he was banned by IndiGo for six months, before its internal committee even arrived at a decision. Other airlines -- AirIndia, SpicejJt, and GoAir -- had imposed an indefinite ban on him for no reason.

The comedian approached the High Court to direct the DGCA to look into the matter and lift the ban on him, according to media reports.

The airlines had put Kamra on a “no fly list until further notice” in response to the Kamra-Goswami encounter that took place on an Indigo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow on January 28. Kamra, in a monologue, lashed out at Goswami and referred to him as a “coward.” IndiGo later suspended Kamra for a period of six months due to his “unacceptable behaviour,” Indian Express reported.

The company in a statement said: “In light of the recent incident… we wish to inform you that we are suspending Mr Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour.”

Shortly after the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri advised other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra, according to per media reports.

Kamra defended his action saying that he “politely asked” Goswami to have a conversation with him, and later gave the news anchor a monologue about what he feels about his journalism.

In an Instagram post Kamra said that the moment the stewardess asked him to move, he went back to his seat in 20 seconds. His post read: “I apologized to each crew member personally and to both the pilots, by staying back till the end, for any inconvenience that I might have caused during the flight.”

Earlier this month, Kamra had sent a legal notice to IndiGo demanding an unconditional apology, revocation of the ban and compensation of Rs 25 lakh. Kamra’s counsel Prashant Sivarajan stated that his client has suffered “mental pain and agony” due to the “illegal, arbitrary, and high-handed decision” of the airline, Indian Express reported.

Published on February 26, 2020
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